Supporting Motivation with Accountability and Disipline

Lately I have been enjoying inspirational messages; lectures, talks and videos from the great thinkers of our time. All of them designed to get you charged up with energy and excitement about your potential opportunities and impact. Recently, I collected my ten favorite inspirational quotes. (see below)

Curiously however, I’ve found inspiration, although immensely powerful and important, to be just the tip of the iceberg with the most important part existing below the surface:

After inspirationmotivation most often can’t be sustained without the pace of discipline and accountability.

What is the pace of motivation? How often do we need to re-up after hearing a particularly inspiring lecture, watching an inspirational movie or making a great new connection? Although intense inspiration and subsequent motivation is experienced after said events, it is often the case that those feelings are temporary and fleeting over time. Discipline and accountability are the true elements required to forge success.

It seems that most can get fired up from an hour long inspirational lecture, but the true separation of action comes from those that are disciplined and hold themselves accountable long after said event.

Pace becomes important as well, along with the period of refresh. Is inspiration needed every week, every day, or every hour? How can we find the optimal dose required to sustain motivation?

I’ve come to understand that one difference between motivational messages and actually achieving your goals is time. Inspiration seems to be quick like a flash set off amidst your day; where inspiration is a short quote, discipline is a novel. The flash of inspiration is difficult to maintain and sustain. You can read a quote and feel a flurry of energy, but the unforeseen and un-celebrated process of discipline and accountability that are needed to carry you toward your goals is as important as it is challenging.

Within the “discipline” heading are many other character attributes like tenacity, courage and humility. The accountability aspect is often administered by your peers and mentors. It’s amazing how disciplined you become when someone is holding you accountable to execute and follow through on your ideas.

Last year I found an audio montage of inspirational quotes stitched together and played over images of athletic feats titled: Inspirational Video – There Will Never be a Perfect Time – Take Action Now

Speakers: Les Brown, Eric Thomas, Ray Lewis

If you happened to watch/listen to all 6+ minutes of the video you’ll probably feel a jolt of energy. Thoughts of that half written novel, that program to produce and that follow-up call to make may come surging back to the forefront of your aspirations like stirred up sediment. Where does the jolt go in the next hour or next day? It’s like an adrenaline shot that can fade over time.

“Greatness is a lot of small things done well, day after day.” –Ray Lewis

I found myself listening to the audio portion at the beginning of each week. In doing this, I was surprised to experience burnout; affecting change is a slow process. The inspirational charge inspires you to move mountains in a day and when the pace of reality sets in, you might feel discouraged when results aren’t as immediate as the initial inspirational fury suggests. It’s like a constant sprint for a short period of time when a marathon pace yields far better results toward success.

My message and my hope is for each of us to identify our sources of inspiration and respect them as frequent reminders during the process of discipline. Although inspiration is powerful enough to fire you up quickly, try to find a way to stockpile that energy for times when you are down or tired.

Next time you are feeling particularly inspired, enjoy the energy and excitement but try to map out a way to give yourself a pace that sustains you over time as well. Inspiration accounts for day one, but remember the importance of discipline and accountability and you move into day two and beyond.


Here are my 10 favorite quotes of inspiration:

  • “Do it now. Sometimes ‘later’ becomes ‘never’” –Unknown
  • “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” –Henry Ford
  • “The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” –Amelia Earhart
  • “If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.” –Ryan Blair
  • “Save the excuses. It’s not about ‘having’ time. It’s about making time. If it matters, you will make time.” –Unknown
  • “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you are going to go to bed with satisfaction” –George Lorimer
  • “You can’t change what you refuse to confront.” –Unknown
  • “Hard work puts you where the good luck can find you.” –Unknown
  • “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” –Denis Waitley
  • “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” –Michael Jordan

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